2019 Pere Marquette
8th Annual Big Ride
September 28-29, 2019
87 miles - 48 Participants
I knew this was going to be a tough ride when I planned it. But knew it would be fine if we had a nice cool Fall day. The end of September should have provided that except this year we had highs beating records as far back at 1891. The heat, wind and large rock riding made this one of our hardest rides on record giving it a 9 out of 10 on difficulty. Only 21 of the 32 who planned to ride all 87 miles were able to actually finish. But really it was only the end after lunch that challenged and tortured us. Let start at the beginning and relive the Big Ride of 2019!!!
We had a 7:30am start at the trail head in Granite City. Of course, past experience means we will actually depart by 8:30. If I have learned anything you need to bake in a lot of extra time especially when leading 30-40 riders. This ride had of all kinds of attendance scenarios. I had 32 starting on Sat morning and 8 joining at lunch. We had some riding one day and some riding half. Always the last minute cancellations to factor in. I finally gave up on my dozens of spread sheets and we just started counting off and who was there was there. But I must say adding a new security role - The Ass Man was genius this year. Why did I not think of this 7 years ago. I assigned one male rider to take the rear. Ken & Dan shared this role and it was instrumental in making me confident we left no chick behind.
After the all important introduction speech which was only 2.5 pages this year, we were off and riding. After a short 1.5 miles we encountered our first hurdle a gate closure. Well that was not there when I scouted this ride 4 weeks earlier. This is when we love having the guys riding. They easily handed the bikes over. Now we had 3 miles of large gravel to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. This was a hard section but we were fresh and it was still cool so not really a problem. Within the 1st 2 miles and we had our first flat which would be followed by 6 more over the weekend. Having the Ass Man paid off and him with a few other guys were able to get the bike repaired. We then followed each other over the canal bridge and made our way to Chain of Rocks Bridge. READ MORE >